Month: March 2022

La Palma

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This island, far out in the Atlantic, is the greenest of all the Canary Islands. In the north are lush forests that stretch far up into the mountains, while the south is dry and volcanic activity is still active to this day. In 2021, an entire stretch of land, a village with its agglomeration and extensive banana crops west of “Cumbre Vieja” were buried under lava and ash.
In former times, i.e. in the times after the discovery of America, La Palma was an important place, and the Canary Island pines also provided the best wood for shipbuilding. Trade, special laws in connection with the Atlantic crossing and the former sugar cane cultivation brought considerable wealth to the islands and its inhabitants, which can still be experienced today in Santa Cruz de la Palma and other places.
Today, things are a little quieter on La Palma than they were at the time of the great voyages of discovery. Since there are hardly any beaches with mass tourism, you can quickly find your peace and quiet on the extensive network of hiking trails or get lost on some forest road. Read More

WC stories

A Spanish phenomenon – or is this found in all southern countries?
Well, we don’t know exactly, but in Spain and its islands you can find it everywhere: the little human poops, usually paired with toilet paper or a wet wipe hidden under a stone. Or the white toilet paper beckons from afar and points to the quiet little toilet. At every rest stop or picnic area, at popular excursion sites or simply in the immediate vicinity of the beach; everywhere they lie scattered in the landscape in considerable numbers. If there happen to be any empty buildings, the interiors, or rather the floors, are guaranteed to be covered with many small heaps and corresponding toilet paper. Entering in this case is usually at your own risk!

Human needs are actually absolutely normal, but we kept asking ourselves whether the creators of public pick-nick places or wonderful vantage points also give any thought to the quiet little toilet where hundreds of people come every day? A simple toilet with an appropriate faeces pit would greatly reduce the number of poops behind the bush and you wouldn’t always have to run the gauntlet. We don’t think anyone would want to step into such a dump!

If there are any toilets at the pick-nick places, which are really numerous on the Iberian Peninsula and its islands far out in the Atlantic, they have been closed for hygienic reasons since the Corona pandemic, while the pick-nick places are occupied by legions of people.

But, how do we do it at our camps or when we have a need during the day? Simple, we do it like the cat; we bury it! Even in difficult terrain and hard ground, we dig a 25-30cm deep hole so that our poop, including toilet paper, is well covered with soil afterwards. To top it off and as a personal marker, we put a small cairn over it so that we might not have to dig a hole in the same place again. A small shovel and a “Geissfuss” (nail or crowbar) are particularly helpful tools in these cases and should always be at hand. By the way, faecal shovels can be found in any good outdoor shop and are available in different sizes.

We don’t know whether burying is the right way to go and whether it complies with European standards, but it is always a clean thing to do and no one stumbles over our big business 😉

And, if we can’t dig a hole, it simply goes – with or without toilet (shower) tent – into the bag, and then into the waste container. Basta!

La Gomera

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The island rises out of the Atlantic like an impregnable fortress, and steep walls greet arrivals from afar. The traffic routes are narrow and wind along the rock faces, climbing steeply uphill or dropping almost in the fall line. The houses often cling to rocky peaks in the most impossible places, and the former volcanic activity is present everywhere.
As there is no infrastructure for mass tourism anywhere, there are also no masses of people looking for recreation, and life is approached very calmly by the local population. In addition to the laid-back population, more and more mainland Europeans are settling in La Gomera and enjoying the island’s unique climate. Sunshine can be followed by thick clouds within minutes, accompanied by a lot of wind and humidity; rain is usually followed by sunshine again. On the south side, the island is drier and irrigation systems provide enough water.
The island’s capital San Sebastián has the flair of a village, and people know each other. If you leave the town on one of the few arterial roads, it becomes even quieter and you can safely shift down a gear or two and relax.
In the heart of La Gomera lies the “Parque Nacional de Garajonay”, which covers around 10% of the island’s surface with an almost impenetrable laurel forest and rises to almost 2000 metres. Besides its important function in the ecosystem, this forest, or rather the whole island, is a true Eldorado for hikers. Read More

Going to Tenerife

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Gran Canaria is not the largest island of the Canary archipelago; besides Fuerteventura, Tenerife is also much larger and, compared to Fuerteventura, very mountainous. The mountains run through the middle of the island and rise to a high plateau of over 2000 metres, where a few million years ago the Pico del Teide grew to 3718 metres in a massive eruption and is now the highest mountain in Spain. Snow, storms and wintry conditions are nothing unusual around Teide and the summit climb can be closed for weeks.
Surrounding the Teide National Park is the “Parque Natural de Corona Forestal”, which lies like a collar around the Teide and covers a very large area of the island with a pine forest. Immediately following and to the north-east is the wild area of the “Parque Rural de Anaga”.
The north and north-west coasts are favoured with a lot of humidity and allow the vegetation to flourish in all its varieties. It is also the area where most people on the island have settled and cultivate other agricultural products besides bananas.
Actually, everything on Tenerife is steep to very steep; from the highest elevations, the slopes often reach down to the sea. The roads wind along the slopes, climb steeply uphill or fall almost in the fall line towards the sea.
The many tourist facilities are to be found on the south-west as well as the south coast, where people enjoy the sun on the few kilometres of beach or take advantage of the many other offers of the tourist industry. So it is not surprising that next to abandoned banana plantations there are hotel complexes as if from a thousand and one nights, followed by countless ruined buildings and…. a bit of rubbish everywhere! Read More